Congressional conservatives protest trade deal’s LGBTQ protections
WASHINGTON — Far-right members of Congress are objecting to LGBTQ protections that are part of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The agreement, which replaces NAFTA, requires that workers be protected against discrimination, including orientation and gender identity.
“A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy,” reads the letter, which carries the names of 40 lawmakers and was sent Friday. “It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States Congress has so far explicitly refused to accept.”
It’s one more landmine in the path of Trump’s biggest trade achievement. Already, labor groups have expressed some concern that mechanisms to enforce new worker protections aren’t sufficiently strong and hinted that the incoming Democratic House might seek changes.
Now the conservatives, including House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), are hoping to revise the deal before it gets signed. Another signatory is Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a Ways and Means Committee member who is leaving Congress at the end of the year.
The language was included at the urging of Canada. Conservatives, who are ready to refuse to ratify the trade agreement, say the language could prevent the repeal of two Obama-era executive orders that brought in some federal protection of LGBTQ workers.